Norwegian Cruise Lines was recently fined $1 million for environmental violations that occurred onboard its legendary Norway between 1997 and 2000. But this is actually quite a mild punishment, particularly when compared to other cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, which was slapped with a $27 million fine and Carnival, which was nailed with an $18 million penalty.
The trouble occurred on Norway when crew members/engineers reported inaccurate information from a logbook that cruise lines are required to keep on oil/water separation issues. Staff onboard also were found guilty of disabling an environmental device that prevented illegal discharge of oily bilge water.
What made a big difference with the rendered punishment was not just that only one ship in the fleet was involved but that Norwegian's top brass actually turned itself in. Current company honcho Colin Veitch, who joined the cruise line in 2000, directed NCL to alert the U.S. Coast Guard (which ironically was already investigating rumors).
NCL has since fired seven executives and two engineers as well as spent $5 million to bring the fleet into compliance. The company will pay, beyond the $1 million penalty, another half-million dollars to Florida-based environmental organizations.
So is this the end of NCL's environmental transgressions? Absolutely, according to a statement by Veitch, who purportedly summed up the experience by emphasizing it happened under another president's watch. "The NCL of 2002," he says, "is not the NCL of 1999."